VERNAY'S SECOND-PLACE EFFORT IN QUALIFYING LEADS SAM SCHMIDT MOTORSPORTS IN EDMONTON EDMONTON - Qualifying took place on Saturday afternoon at the City Centre Airport Circuit in Edmonton, and when the checkered flag fell on the session, series...
VERNAY'S SECOND-PLACE EFFORT IN QUALIFYING LEADS SAM SCHMIDT MOTORSPORTS IN EDMONTON
EDMONTON - Qualifying took place on Saturday afternoon at the City Centre Airport Circuit in Edmonton, and when the checkered flag fell on the session, series points leader J.K. Vernay led the way for Sam Schmidt Motorsports by qualifying second for Sunday's Edmonton 100.
Teammates Philip Major and Pippa Mann followed in 10th and 11th, respectively.
Vernay made a big improvement over practice after finishing eighth overall following the Friday and Saturday sessions. The second-place start is his fifth on the front row in his short eight-race Firestone Indy Lights career. He just narrowly missed the pole by less than a tenth of a second to former Sam Schmidt driver James Hinchcliffe.
Major found himself to be quick on the first half of the circuit, but being new to the track, finds himself still learning the fast line around the second half of the circuit. He'll have one more practice session to get things figured out so he can move forward in the race.
Mann, who has a broken left hand, is battling to hang onto the car as the rough ride around the airport circuit, which features more right-hand turns than lefts, is causing a lot of discomfort for the driver. Still, she plans to stick it out for the race, and just seeing the checkered-flag will be an accomplishment for the British driver.
No. 7 LUCAS OIL/CJ Motorsport/Sam Schmidt Motorsports Driver J.K. Vernay
"Going into qualifying, we had a lot of improvements to make after the testing sessions, but we almost pulled off the pole. In a sense, I'm a bit disappointed since we were so close, but given how new this circuit is to me and where we were, I can't be too upset. The team did a great job to improve the car and move us forward on the grid. Second gives us a good starting spot and a chance to score a lot of points for the championship. If we can win, that will obviously be the goal, but I know the fast guys will be tough, and the most important thing for the race is to finish well and get as many points as possible moving forward."
No. 11 LOBLAWS/Sam Schmidt Motorsports Driver Pippa Mann
"Today has been really, really tough. This is one of the bumpiest, most physical circuits we visit all year. Trying to drive it with only one healthy hand has been extremely difficult. We are trying to manage the pain with the help of medication, but it's still a broken hand, and every time I hit a bump or have to take my right hand off the wheel to shift and take the load through my left hand, it becomes evident there's only so much the pain management can do. We qualified roughly where we thought we would after this morning's session. I think it would be quite a lot better if I didn't have the broken hand, however, I was pleased to be ahead of a couple of other cars. The goal is still to try and make it through the race tomorrow and hope for some attrition."
No. 49 Sam Schmidt Motorsports Driver Philip Major
"It was a bit of a tough qualifying session for me. We were really quick on the first half of the track, but the second half of the track I just haven't figured out yet. It's a new track for me, and it's difficult because it's low grip, and there are a lot of bumps that I have to sort out. Obviously it's not what I wanted in my first qualifying effort here, but at least we have one more practice before the race to get things sorted out."